The 2012 Tasmanian Open will be the third year the tournament has been a key part of the Australian Squash Tour, and it has gone from strength to strength each time.
“We’re delighted that once again so many overseas players have decided to come to Hobart,” tournament director Chris Doig said.
“Each year the tournament has become more and more cosmopolitan, which shows us that we are doing something right.
“It is a great opportunity for local squash fans to come along and see a wide range of different players with different styles.”
Top seed in the men’s event is 23-year-old Malaysian Asyraf Azan, who won his second tournament on the Professional Squash Association tour in January.
He plays a qualifier in the first round before a likely clash with the winner of the all-French match between Florent Pontiere and Arthur Moineau.
In-form Austrian Aqeel Rehman is the second seed with Argentina’s Gonzalo Miranda the third ranked player Malaysian Elvinn Keo the fourth.
Australia’s best hope is seventh seeded Queenslander Jamie McErvale.
The women’s draw is headed by Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling with Melbourne’s Sarah Cardwell the second seed and Brazilian Thaisa Serafini seeded three.
However, all the top women will be wary of Korea’s Song Sun-Mi, the former world number 42 who is returning to the tour after injury and who last week won the Victorian Open.
With Tasmania’s two top players, Aaron Frankcomb and Maggy Marshall, both in virtual retirement due to persistent serious leg injuries, local hopes will rest on the state’s best juniors and penant players who will be lining up to have a shot at the professionals.
Kate Lindsay, Clare Ward, Melanie Dunn and Helen Rackham have gone straight into the women’s draw, while 13 locals will be in the men’s qualifying field.
Qualifying begins on Thursday, with the main competition getting underway on Friday. The finals will be held on Sunday.